The Computer & Communications Industry Association filed its recommendations to the FCC today for developing a national broadband plan. The Administration’s attention to a holistic plan shows it understands that infrastructure for universal high speed Internet access is as crucial as access to electricity and telephone service were last century.
“Affordable access to high-speed Internet continues to create incentives for innovators to develop and distribute their inventions and opportunities for users to enjoy the vast and ever-expanding array of Internet services and applications. The National Broadband Plan should recognize the value of an open Internet by preserving content and application neutrality while ensuring transparency for users, and safeguarding privacy,” CCIA wrote in its filing.
“This does not mean that network operators should be precluded from engaging in reasonable network management – including establishing reasonable pricing tiers to allow consumers to select the speeds and service quality they desire,” said CCIA President & CEO Ed Black. “But network operators should disclose those management practices and privacy policies clearly to consumers and small busineses. If and when competition improves, the need for neutrality and net access rules might be mitigated by market forces. But today, protecting users should be the Commission’s highest policy priority,” Black said.
“Competition has the power to improve services and reduce costs for all. Where weak markets fail to support facilities-based competition, government subsidies, along with wholesale capacity or network sharing requirements, may be necessary,” Black said.
CCIA said in its filing the National Broadband Plan must ensure that:
- All Americans have access to broadband
- The Internet is open and free from discrimination
- Citizens and consumers have the widest possible range of choices among providers and services
- Privacy is protected
- Competition is encouraged, while barriers to innovation and entry are systematically removed
- All elements of the government work cooperatively and transparently to adopt policies that increase broadband deployment and adoption.
“As we endure one of the greatest economic crises in our nation’s history, we must have the vision and resolve to create more online educational and economic opportunity, civic participation and political discourse, and access to quality health care by ensuring bits flow as freely as drinking water,” Black said.